Natives, the forthcoming debut album from Bright Moments aka multi-instrumentalist, Kelly Pratt (Beirut, Arcade Fire), is a study of people, places and adventure featuring a lively, prominent brass section atop a multi-layered, indie-pop base. While the use of brass instruments in pop music is nothing new (and lest you anticipate the second coming of Beirut), the way in which Bright Moments manipulates their tone in relation to the rest of the record’s content makes for a fresh and provoking listening experience.
Milwaukee is arguably the most dynamic track on Natives; detailing the experience of 15-year-old Jeanna Giese, the first patient to receive the Milwaukee protocol for rabies (a treatment that chemically induces a coma while administering anti-viral medication). The seeming disconnect between the solemn lyrics and the track’s feel-good accordion line, vibrant trumpet solo and booming tuba creates a tension that makes you second-guess any initial reaction: at first listen the music elicits positivity, but on second listen the lyrics detract it…Evidence of the many layers to be uncovered with multiple listens.
Behind the Gun—a disarmingly catchy tune about a troubled shooter — also revels in this dark tension between lyrics and melody, almost following in the shadow of Foster the People’s Pumped-up Kicks.
Honorable mentions go to Travelers, the boisterous, optimistic lead single about hitting the open road; Drifters, with its captivating opening, and to The Sailor, with an ebb and flow of waltzing ¾ time.
Overall, Natives showcases Kelly Pratt’s growth as a musician and composer, his voracity for music (he did record the entire album in his own apartment) and his capability of excelling in several genres. But even more so, Natives is a microscopic examination of a place where so many people interact, influence and juxtapose one another, examining the perspectives of the players that contribute to the land—the album—as a whole.
Natives by Bright Moments will be released February 21, 2012 on the Luaka Bop label.
— By Erin Torrance, a recent Publishing graduate venturing into the world of music. Erin lives in a flea-market chic apartment in Toronto with the love of her life and best friend — her cat Bea.